WWW2009 EPrints

Extracting Article Text from the Web with Maximum Subsequence Segmentation

This item is a Paper in the XML and Web Data track.

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Much of the information on the Web is found in articles from online news outlets, magazines, encyclopedias, review collections, and other sources. However, extracting this content from the original HTML document is complicated by the large amount of less informative and typically unrelated material such as navigation menus, forms, user comments, and ads. Existing approaches tend to be either brittle and demand significant expert knowledge and time (manual or tool-assisted generation of rules or code), necessitate labeled examples for every different page structure to be processed (wrapper induction), require relatively uniform layout (template detection), or, as with Visual Page Segmentation (VIPS), are computationally expensive. We introduce maximum subsequence segmentation, a method of global optimization over token-level local classifiers, and apply it to the domain of news websites. Training examples are easy to obtain, both learning and prediction are linear time, and results are excellent (our semi-supervised algorithm yields an overall F1score of 97.947%), surpassing even those produced by VIPS with a hypothetical perfect block-selection heuristic. We also evaluate against the recent CleanEval shared task with surprisingly good cross-task performance cleaning general web pages, exceeding the top “text-only” score (based on Levenshtein distance), 87.8% versus 84.1%.

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About this site

This website has been set up for WWW2009 by Christopher Gutteridge of the University of Southampton, using our EPrints software.


We (Southampton EPrints Project) intend to preserve the files and HTML pages of this site for many years, however we will turn it into flat files for long term preservation. This means that at some point in the months after the conference the search, metadata-export, JSON interface, OAI etc. will be disabled as we "fossilize" the site. Please plan accordingly. Feel free to ask nicely for us to keep the dynamic site online longer if there's a rally good (or cool) use for it... [this has now happened, this site is now static]